RUSSIA — Nearly 40 area military veterans participated, Wednesday, Nov. 7, in a luncheon and program in their honor at Russia Local School.
Students decorated the commons using red, white and blue balloon centerpieces and other patriotic decorations. The hallway leading to the commons was filled with pictures of local veterans that the veterans enjoyed looking at as they walked to the cafeteria.
At the conclusion of the luncheon, a school-wide assembly program was presented. There was a projection screen in the gymnasium with a large American flag above it. Patriotic balloons were used to decorate the gym.
A slide show featuring deceased Russia veterans played while veterans were getting seated for the school assembly. All students in grades K-12 wore red, white and blue to show their patriotism. Principal Marcus Bixler provided a brief history of Veterans Day. The high school band played the national anthem, which was followed by a short video, featuring a speech by former President, Ronald Reagan.
Kaylee Hiatt, a senior, announced each Russia veteran’s name and a showed a slide of each veteran that included the branch of military, years served and a photo.
The guest speaker was Mike Ullery, chief photographer for the Piqua Daily Call and staff photographer for the National Aviation Hall of Fame. He shared his personal story of creating a friendship with a Vietnam War veteran, Tom Elliot, while he was in the fourth grade, the history and value of Honor Flight, and how everyone, young or old can support the military. He ended his presentation with a reminder that this year marks the 100th anniversary of World War I.
The elementary music teacher, Lynn Blakeley, led kindergarten students in two patriotic songs. The first- through fourth-grade students sang a patriotic medley. The program ended with “God Bless America” as a solo by senior Claire Meyer.
The veterans were given bags of cookies baked by students in culinary classes, as well as laminated group pictures of the veterans who attended in 2017.